Team member and D3 project engineer Dana Dietz at whiteboard.
Supply Chain Management gets Summit Team overhaul
The challenge with large-scale operations like ITD is to keep the things in supply that will be needed, without overstocking and committing your resources to an inventory that is ever-changing. Nothing slows productivity more than not having the item you need to do the job right.
It's a complicated challenge, but one with a direct impact on the organization's ability to carry out its mission. It's also one that a leadership summit team recently tackled.
"Every bit of ITD's functionality relies on having the appropriate resources when we need it," explained Dana Dietz, team member and a D3 construction project engineer. "If we don't, we can't serve our customers in a timely manner. There are some resources, such as salt, that are essential to the safety of the public, where lives are literally on the line. This could also be said of tires, and other resources too."
Dietz said the team "accomplished a lot. We covered more than anyone could tackle in one week." She said the team first determined what problems could be solved within that time and had the biggest impact on solving the resource problems at ITD. Then they set about solving that issue.
They divided the items into four categories.
"We wanted to choose topics in the 'Quick Wins' and 'Major Projects' areas. The "Major projects" had to be doable in the time allotted, though. We decided that the 'Fill-Ins' could be taken care of without a leadership team. The 'Hard Slogs' with low impact were prioritized last," Dietz said.
She added the biggest challenges have to do with the software used when documenting resources used and when ordering resources.
"TAMS is used by employees to document what resources have been used, while AMS is used to purchase and pay for those resources. Yet, the two programs do not talk to each other. We cannot implement a 'smart inventory' process without the proper software to complete the process," she explained.
They brought in subject matter experts on software for AMS and TAMS, on Contracts from Purchasing, and on Title Paperwork and Registration Decals from DMV. They had their own subject matter experts in the group from Supply.
"We also developed a 'fantasy' program to see if we could get TAMS and AMS to talk to each the way that they need to recognize how supplies are being used and when supplies are needed," Dietz said
Additionally, they analyzed tire maintenance and repair, which currently differs depending on location of the vehicles. They were given the approval to start a pilot program for tire maintenance in District 3.
The team also determined that Purchasing needs a dedicated Contract Administrator to stay on top of the Supply contracts.
"The process for renewing these contracts is lengthy and time- consuming, but the ramifications for not having a renewed contract in time to supply critical resources can be severe," Dietz explained. "Last winter's salt contract is an example of a contract that expired when it was really needed."
The team's next steps are to continue to develop a software reporting system that functions well for inventory as well as purchasing, and that will help develop a "smart inventory." A Contract Administrator in Purchasing will manage the Supply Contracts.
D3 will continue to implement the Tire Maintenance and Repair pilot program to see if this will work for other districts.
Watch the Supply Chain Management team video.